Department of Veterinary Pathobiology

Leslie A. Lyons
Gilbreath-McLorn Endowed Professor of Comparative Medicine

  • B.S., University of Pittsburgh
  • M.S., University of Pittsburgh
  • Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh

Building Address: E109 Vet Med Building
Phone Number: 573-882-9777

Research Emphasis: Research focuses on genetic aspects of domestic cats, including inherited diseases, traits and population dynamics, which are implied to genetic disease studies, translational medicine, genetic testing, and forensic applications. The Lyons laboratory maintains a research colony of cats with genetic traits and has a variety of projects with veterinary clinicians to define and describe heritable diseases and traits.

Laboratory: Lyons Feline & Comparative Genetics
Lab Phone: 573-884 -2287 (4-CATS)

Graduate Groups:

Genetics Area Program
Comparative Medicine Area Program
Veterinary Pathobiology


Cat Diseases and Clinical Studies

Pollard RE, Koehne AL, Peterson CB, Lyons LA. Japanese Bobtail: vertebral morphology and genetic characterization of an established cat breed. J Feline Med Surg. 2014. doi: 10.1177/1098612X14558147. PubMed PMID: 25488973.

Gandolfi B, Daniel RJ, O'Brien DP, Guo LT, Youngs MD, Leach SB, Jones BR, Shelton GD, Lyons LA. A Novel Mutation in CLCN1 Associated with Feline Myotonia Congenita. PloS one. 2014;9(10):e109926. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0109926. PubMed PMID: 25356766; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4214686.

Alhaddad H, Gandolfi B, Grahn RA, Rah HC, Peterson CB, Maggs DJ, Good KL, Pedersen NC, Lyons LA. Genome-wide association and linkage analyses localize a progressive retinal atrophy locus in Persian cats. Mamm Genome. 2014;25(7-8):354-62. doi: 10.1007/s00335-014-9517-z. PubMed PMID: 24777202; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4105591.

Longeri M, Ferrari P, Knafelz P, Mezzelani A, Marabotti A, Milanesi L, Pertica G, Polli M, Brambilla PG, Kittleson M, Lyons LA, Porciello F. Myosin-binding protein C DNA variants in domestic cats (A31P, A74T, R820W) and their association with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. J Vet Intern Med. 2013;27(2):275-85. doi: 10.1111/jvim.12031. PubMed PMID: 23323744; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3602388.

Langley-Hobbs SJ, Bailey SJ, Casal M, Lyons LA. Patellar fractures in cats. The Veterinary record. 2013;172(3):83-4. Epub 2013/01/22. doi: 10.1136/vr.f337. PubMed PMID: 23335690.

Grahn RA, Grahn JC, Penedo MC, Helps CR, Lyons LA. Erythrocyte pyruvate kinase deficiency mutation identified in multiple breeds of domestic cats. BMC veterinary research. 2012;8:207. Epub 2012/11/01. doi: 10.1186/1746-6148-8-207. PubMed PMID: 23110753; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3534511.

Grahn RA, Ellis MR, Grahn JC, Lyons LA. A novel CYP27B1 mutation causes a feline vitamin D-dependent rickets type IA. J Feline Med Surg. 2012;14(8):587-90. Epub 2012/05/04. doi: 10.1177/1098612X12446637. PubMed PMID: 22553308.

Gandolfi B, Gruffydd-Jones TJ, Malik R, Cortes A, Jones BR, Helps CR, Prinzenberg EM, Erhardt G, Lyons LA. First WNK4-hypokalemia animal model identified by genome-wide association in Burmese cats. PloS one. 2012;7(12):e53173. Epub 2013/01/04. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0053173. PubMed PMID: 23285264; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3532348.

Martin PT, Shelton GD, Dickinson PJ, Sturges BK, Xu R, LeCouteur RA, Guo LT, Grahn RA, Lo HP, North KN, Malik R, Engvall E, Lyons LA. Muscular dystrophy associated with alpha-dystroglycan deficiency in Sphynx and Devon Rex cats. Neuromuscul Disord. 2008;18(12):942-52. Epub 2008/11/08. doi: 10.1016/j.nmd.2008.08.002. PubMed PMID: 18990577; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2646259.

Bighignoli B, Niini T, Grahn RA, Pedersen NC, Millon LV, Polli M, Longeri M, Lyons LA. Cytidine monophospho-N-acetylneuraminic acid hydroxylase (CMAH) mutations associated with the domestic cat AB blood group. BMC genetics. 2007;8:27. Epub 2007/06/08. doi: 10.1186/1471-2156-8-27. PubMed PMID: 17553163; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1913925.

Lyons LA, Biller DS, Erdman CA, Lipinski MJ, Young AE, Roe BA, Qin B, Grahn RA. Feline polycystic kidney disease mutation identified in PKD1. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2004;15(10):2548-55. Epub 2004/10/07. doi: 10.1097/01.ASN.0000141776.38527.BB. PubMed PMID: 15466259.

Louwerens M, London CA, Pedersen NC, Lyons LA. Feline lymphoma in the post-feline leukemia virus era. J Vet Intern Med. 2005;19(3):329-35. Epub 2005/06/16. PubMed PMID: 15954547.

Rah H, Maggs DJ, Blankenship TN, Narfstrom K, Lyons LA. Early-onset, autosomal recessive, progressive retinal atrophy in Persian cats. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2005;46(5):1742-7. Epub 2005/04/27. doi: 10.1167/iovs.04-1019. PubMed PMID: 15851577.

Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)

Pedersen NC, Liu H, Gandolfi B, Lyons LA. The influence of age and genetics on natural resistance to experimentally induced feline infectious peritonitis. Veterinary immunology and immunopathology. 2014. doi: 10.1016/j.vetimm.2014.09.001. PubMed PMID: 25265870.

Golovko L, Lyons LA, Liu H, Sorensen A, Wehnert S, Pedersen NC. Genetic susceptibility to feline infectious peritonitis in Birman cats. Virus research. 2013;175(1):58-63. doi: 10.1016/j.virusres.2013.04.006. PubMed PMID: 23619280.

Pedersen NC, Allen CE, Lyons LA. Pathogenesis of feline enteric coronavirus infection. J Feline Med Surg. 2008;10(6):529-41. Epub 2008/06/10. doi: 10.1016/j.jfms.2008.02.006. PubMed PMID: 18538604.

Cat Reproduction

Lambo CA, Grahn RA, Lyons LA, Bateman H, Newsom J, Swanson WF. Comparative fertility of freshly collected vs frozen-thawed semen with laparoscopic oviductal artificial insemination in domestic cats. Reproduction in domestic animals = Zuchthygiene. 2012;47 Suppl 6:284-8. Epub 2013/02/12. doi: 10.1111/rda.12038. PubMed PMID: 23279520.

Schlafer DH, Valentine B, Fahnestock G, Froenicke L, Grahn RA, Lyons LA, Meyers-Wallen VN. A case of SRY-positive 38,XY true hermaphroditism (XY sex reversal) in a cat. Vet Pathol. 2011;48(4):817-22. Epub 2010/09/24. doi: 10.1177/0300985810382093. PubMed PMID: 20861501; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3271121.

Gomez MC, Pope CE, Kutner RH, Ricks DM, Lyons LA, Ruhe M, Dumas C, Lyons J, Lopez M, Dresser BL, Reiser J. Nuclear transfer of sand cat cells into enucleated domestic cat oocytes is affected by cryopreservation of donor cells. Cloning Stem Cells. 2008;10(4):469-83. Epub 2008/09/18. doi: 10.1089/clo.2008.0021. PubMed PMID: 18795868.

Gomez MC, Pope CE, Giraldo A, Lyons LA, Harris RF, King AL, Cole A, Godke RA, Dresser BL. Birth of African Wildcat cloned kittens born from domestic cats. Cloning Stem Cells. 2004;6(3):247-58. Epub 2005/01/27. doi: 10.1089/clo.2004.6.247. PubMed PMID: 15671671.

Shin T, Kraemer D, Pryor J, Liu L, Rugila J, Howe L, Buck S, Murphy K, Lyons L, Westhusin M. A cat cloned by nuclear transplantation. Nature. 2002;415(6874):859. PubMed PMID: 11859353.

Cat Colors and Phenotypic Traits

Gershony LC, Penedo MC, Davis BW, Murphy WJ, Helps CR, Lyons LA. Who's behind that mask and cape? The Asian leopard cat's Agouti (ASIP) allele likely affects coat colour phenotype in the Bengal cat breed. Anim Genet. 2014;45(6):893-7. doi: 10.1111/age.12206. PubMed PMID: 25143047; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4211939.

Gandolfi B, Alhaddad H, Affolter VK, Brockman J, Haggstrom J, Joslin SE, Koehne AL, Mullikin JC, Outerbridge CA, Warren WC, Lyons LA. To the Root of the Curl: A Signature of a Recent Selective Sweep Identifies a Mutation That Defines the Cornish Rex Cat Breed. PloS one. 2013;8(6):e67105. Epub 2013/07/05. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0067105. PubMed PMID: 23826204; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3694948.

Buckingham KJ, McMillin MJ, Brassil MM, Shively KM, Magnaye KM, Cortes A, Weinmann AS, Lyons LA, Bamshad MJ. Multiple mutant T alleles cause haploinsufficiency of Brachyury and short tails in Manx cats. Mamm Genome. 2013;24(9-10):400-8. doi: 10.1007/s00335-013-9471-1. PubMed PMID: 23949773.

Gandolfi B, Outerbridge CA, Beresford LG, Myers JA, Pimentel M, Alhaddad H, Grahn JC, Grahn RA, Lyons LA. The naked truth: Sphynx and Devon Rex cat breed mutations in KRT71. Mamm Genome. 2010;21(9-10):509-15. Epub 2010/10/19. doi: 10.1007/s00335-010-9290-6. PubMed PMID: 20953787; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2974189.

Lyons LA, Imes DL, Rah HC, Grahn RA. Tyrosinase mutations associated with Siamese and Burmese patterns in the domestic cat (Felis catus). Anim Genet. 2005;36(2):119-26. Epub 2005/03/18. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2052.2005.01253.x. PubMed PMID: 15771720.

Lyons LA, Foe IT, Rah HC, Grahn RA. Chocolate coated cats: TYRP1 mutations for brown color in domestic cats. Mamm Genome. 2005;16(5):356-66. Epub 2005/08/18. PubMed PMID: 16104383.

Imes DL, Geary LA, Grahn RA, Lyons LA. Albinism in the domestic cat (Felis catus) is associated with a tyrosinase (TYR) mutation. Anim Genet. 2006;37(2):175-8. Epub 2006/04/01. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2052.2005.01409.x. PubMed PMID: 16573534; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1464423.

Forensics and Population Studies (Cat Breeds and Races)

Lyons LA, Grahn RA, Kun TJ, Netzel LR, Wictum EE, Halverson JL. Acceptance of domestic cat mitochondrial DNA in a criminal proceeding. Forensic science international Genetics. 2014;13:61-7. doi: 10.1016/j.fsigen.2014.07.007. PubMed PMID: 25086413; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4186908.

Grahn RA, Alhaddad H, Alves PC, Randi E, Waly NE, Lyons LA. Feline mitochondrial DNA sampling for forensic analysis: When enough is enough! Forensic science international Genetics. 2014;16C:52-7. doi: 10.1016/j.fsigen.2014.11.017. PubMed PMID: 25531059.

Kurushima JD, Lipinski MJ, Gandolfi B, Froenicke L, Grahn JC, Grahn RA, Lyons LA. Variation of cats under domestication: genetic assignment of domestic cats to breeds and worldwide random-bred populations. Anim Genet. 2013;44(3):311-24. Epub 2012/11/23. doi: 10.1111/age.12008. PubMed PMID: 23171373; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3594446.

Kun T, Lyons LA, Sacks BN, Ballard RE, Lindquist C, Wictum EJ. Developmental validation of Mini-DogFiler for degraded canine DNA. Forensic science international Genetics. 2013;7(1):151-8. Epub 2012/10/09. doi: 10.1016/j.fsigen.2012.09.002. PubMed PMID: 23040244.

Grahn RA, Huang TI-T, Lyons LA. Impact of allogrooming in domestic cats (Felis silvestris catus) on mitochondrial DNA profiling of shed hairs. Open Forensic Science Journal. 2013;6:12-9. doi: 10.2174/1874402801306010012.

Kurushima JD, Ikram S, Knudsen J, Bleiberg E, Grahn RA, Lyons LA. Cats of the Pharaohs: Genetic Comparison of Egyptian Cat Mummies to their Feline Contemporaries. Journal of archaeological science. 2012;39(10):3217-23. Epub 2012/08/28. doi: 10.1016/j.jas.2012.05.005. PubMed PMID: 22923880; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3426309.
Grahn RA, Kurushima JD, Billings NC, Grahn JC, Halverson JL, Hammer E, Ho CK, Kun TJ, Levy JK, Lipinski MJ, Mwenda JM, Ozpinar H, Schuster RK, Shoorijeh SJ, Tarditi CR, Waly NE, Wictum EJ, Lyons LA. Feline non-repetitive mitochondrial DNA control region database for forensic evidence. Forensic science international Genetics. 2011;5(1):33-42. Epub 2010/05/12. doi: 10.1016/j.fsigen.2010.01.013. PubMed PMID: 20457082; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2921450.

Lipinski MJ, Froenicke L, Baysac KC, Billings NC, Leutenegger CM, Levy AM, Longeri M, Niini T, Ozpinar H, Slater MR, Pedersen NC, Lyons LA. The ascent of cat breeds: genetic evaluations of breeds and worldwide random-bred populations. Genomics. 2008;91(1):12-21. Epub 2007/12/07. doi: 10.1016/j.ygeno.2007.10.009. PubMed PMID: 18060738; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2267438.

Cat Genomics

Montague MJ, Li G, Gandolfi B, Khan R, Aken BL, Searle SM, Minx P, Hillier LW, Koboldt DC, Davis BW, Driscoll CA, Barr CS, Blackistone K, Quilez J, Lorente-Galdos B, Marques-Bonet T, Alkan C, Thomas GW, Hahn MW, Menotti-Raymond M, O'Brien SJ, Wilson RK, Lyons LA, Murphy WJ, Warren WC. Comparative analysis of the domestic cat genome reveals genetic signatures underlying feline biology and domestication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2014. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1410083111. PubMed PMID: 25385592.

Alhaddad H, Khan R, Grahn RA, Gandolfi B, Mullikin JC, Cole SA, Gruffydd-Jones TJ, Haggstrom J, Lohi H, Longeri M, Lyons LA. Extent of linkage disequilibrium in the domestic cat, Felis silvestris catus, and its breeds. PloS one. 2013;8(1):e53537. Epub 2013/01/12. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0053537. PubMed PMID: 23308248; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3538540.

Bach LH, Gandolfi B, Grahn JC, Millon LV, Kent MS, Narfstrom K, Cole SA, Mullikin JC, Grahn RA, Lyons LA. A high-resolution 15,000(rad) radiation hybrid panel for the domestic cat. Cytogenet Genome Res. 2012;137(1):7-14. Epub 2012/07/11. doi: 10.1159/000339416. PubMed PMID: 22777158.


Mattucci F, Oliveira R, Bizzarri L, Vercillo F, Anile S, Ragni B, Lapini L, Sforzi A, Alves PC, Lyons LA, Randi E. Genetic structure of wildcat (Felis silvestris) populations in Italy. Ecology and Evolution. 2013;3(8):2443-58. Epub 22 JUN 2013. doi: 10.1002/ece3.569. PubMed PMID: 12969463.


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